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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

FROM   BAHR  TO   DEHMEL

dalene. The poem is a necessary part of the cycle, for it leads up to
the interpretation of love as 'Ehrfurcht vor dem lubermdchtigerf.

Dehmel was a wonderful translator. His verse renderings of
poems by Villon and Verlaine are gathered in Aber die Liebe> as
are also his adaptations of Chinese poems. In his renderings of
three poems of Li-Tai-Pe he was helped by Hans Heilmann, who
later published a volume of prose translations of Chinese lyrics.
Imitations of Oriental poetry thereafter belonged to the order of
the day: Hans Bethge's Die chinesische Flote (1907) and Japanischer
Fmbling (1911) may be mentioned. But the only poet who could lay
claim to some knowledge of Chinese was Bierbaum, who began as
an orientalist. DehmePs l^ieder derltilitis were published in a separate
volume; the original, Pierre Louys' Chansons de Bilitis (18 94)3 played
with the theme of Lesbian love, which we find in odd corners of
impressionist literature.

Paula Dehmel was a gifted woman: she collaborated with her
husband in writing the poems for children which form Vol. VI
of the Collected Works (Der Kindergarten). But Dehmel, though he
was devoted to his children, found domestic life with her hard to
endure; she was a chronic sufferer from asthma, and aged rapidly.
He seriously entertained the idea of adding Hedwig Lachmann to
his household as second wife. But Hedwig was one of his wife's
most helpful friends, and remained so. In 1893 Dehmel fled to
Hamburg, without taking even a toothbrush; this time, however,
Paula fetched him back to home - and duty at the insurance office;
he was, however, granted leave of absence and spent a holiday in
Italy. It is almost an ironical detail that Dehmel was at last, in
1894, able to resign his insurance post because Paula came into
money. By this time Dehmel had met the third Jewish lady who
swept him off his feet. An essay of his on the paramount perfor-
mances in the art of the day had just appeared in the second num-
ber of Pan, which he had helped to found; and he received a letter
from a lady in which she expressed her surprise that the essay did
not mention Stefan George; accompanying the letter were one of
George's volumes of verse and one year's issue of Blatter fur die
Kunst. The lady was Frau Konsul Auerbach of Berlin, and when
Dehmel called on her he found she was twenty-five, recently mar-
ried to a well-to-do Jewish merchant, and on the way to have a
baby. Her maiden name was Ida Coblens (Idda* for short, but
Dehmel called her Isi, and as Frau Isi she will live in literature).